Closing Thoughts

Reflecting on what was learned, how it was learned, and on previous reflections. (July 7 Reflection for ACAM 390A)

Upon reviewing the syllabus and how it outlined the course, what immediately sticks out to me is how the connection to the original Sze Yup/Four Counties Cantonese migration theme became somewhat lost among discussions of conservation.  Without Kaiping on our itinerary, I think I found it harder to maintain recognition that these places were largely tied by Cantonese migration. I also mentioned in class that the order of the locations helped me to stay diligent with my critical thinking. I definitely think that going to Kaiping in addition to the three locations would have been a strain on the group, as many seemed stretched a bit thin by Singapore. Overall, however, I do believe that we achieved the learning outcomes outlined.

In the final class debrief and at the showcase, the question of whether the class structure affected learning was repeated. Does it matter that we went as a group rather than on a single person exchange? Did the order of locations matter? How does the project assigned affect what is learned? For me, I think the smaller project groups and the larger class group structure helped with both depth and breadth in learning. With the assigned project I could focus in on thinking about what I saw in specific ways. With the larger group, I could discover and discuss what others had gone in-depth with.

I've discussed with others how open mornings in addition to open days would have possibly helped with self care in terms of being able to feel in control of one's day for a day or two. As well, thinking about the timeline of the course, while I appreciated the course having minimal overlap with the internships, I think many would have appreciated more time to get over jetlag before attempting to piece together the footage for the showcase. This may potentially be doable if the course started closer to the official term two start date, but I understand there were probably other factors to decisions that we didn't know about.

I don't have much to say about the reflective activities, but I do want to come back to the question I asked in my first reflection about contributing to a community you don't feel you are a part of. Each of my reflections in some way relate to being connected and engaged--with cities, with people and communities, and with one's own surroundings. While I do feel more familiar with Chinatown, I still don't quite feel the urgency that Hayne had urged for. I think a part of the answer to my question is that contributing and interacting with the community is how you build belonging. Seeing people like Yolanda from Yarrow and Kevin from Hua showed me how people who didn't grow up in Vancouver's Chinatown can still feel deeply connected to it and its community. I don't think I'll ever get to that level of connection, but I definitely feel less like I am an outsider--less like Chinatown's problems are not my problems.

Overall, I appreciated the thought that went into the course structure and timeline, and I think that there were more things that helped foster learning than there were things that hindered it.

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